Subbuteo is a fast-paced tabletop game that originated in England
ATASCADERO — Have you ever heard of Subbuteo? It’s a fast-paced soccer tabletop game that takes about 30 minutes to complete. Not to be confused with foosball, the game got its start in England in the mid-1940s, as soccer was becoming more popular. And guess what? San Luis Obispo County has its very own Subbuteo club, the Central Coast Condors Table Soccer Club (CCCTSC).
“It developed as a child’s game that was played pre-video games,” said local player and CCCTSC member Jake Schoonmaker. “In the ’70s or ’80s, they augmented the figures that you play with, and it became a more strategized game, a faster-paced game that adults started becoming a bit fanatical about. So in Europe, it’s very popular. In America is super, super small.”
Condors Club Leader Varant Kurkeyerian learned the game from his dad back in England and brought it over with him when he attended Cal Poly in the ’90s.
“During the pandemic, one of my roommates worked for Varant, and he gave us a board to play on and figures to play with,” Schoonmaker said. “So it came out of the isolation that we just had nothing to do, and that’s how this club was born on the Central Coast. It started through Varant, through some of our friends.”
On Saturday, April 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., CCCTSC hosted a Subbuteo tournament at a private residence in Atascadero, with seven competitors competing in a modified Swiss format with a championship title belt for the winner. Deemed the CondorMania, it was an ASA (American Subbuteo Association)/WASPA (World Amateur Subbuteo Players Association) tournament.
The championship title belt went to Peter Vahle from the NorCal Subbuteo Club, who defeated Kurkeyerian 2-1. The 30-minute rounds went like this:
Cameron Tucker 3-1 Charles Alexander
Varant Kurkeyerian 2-0 Sam Omiotek
Peter Vahle 3-2 Mike Jercich
Varant Kurkeyerian 2-0 Cameron Tucker
Peter Vahle 1-0 Jake Schoonmaker
Charles Alexander 3-2 Sam Omiotek
Varant Kurkeyerian 4-0 Peter Vahle
Jake Schoonmaker 3-1 Charles Alexander
Cameron Tucker 2-0 Mike Jercich
Peter Vahle 0-0 Cameron Tucker
Jake Schoonmaker 3-0 Sam Omiotek
Charles Alexander 2-0 Mike Jercich
Varant Kurkeyerian 6-2 Jake Schoonmaker
Mike Jercich/Sam Omiotek match abandoned
Consolation Final/Wild Card
Mike Jercich 1-0 Sam Omiotek
Jake Schoonmaker 4-1 Charles Alexander
Peter Vahle 1-0 Mike Jercich
Varant Kurkeyerian 3-1 Jake Schoonmaker
Peter Vahle 2-1 (OT) Cameron Tucker
Peter Vahle 2-1 Varant Kurkeyerian
The CCCTSC is made up of players from all over the Central Coast. They even have members from a club that disbanded in Southern California. Those members drive to the Central Coast to play on both club nights and tournaments.
“We have people coming from South LA County, Orange County to come up and play with us,” stated Schoonmaker. “It’s crazy. It’s wild to see the passion that some of these people have to make the drive to come and play for a few hours just because that is the one place they can come to get their kicks.”
The Subbuteo Club has weekly meetings on Tuesday nights. And local residents are welcome to come and check out the tabletop soccer game to see what it’s all about. They even have extra teams and materials for anyone interested in trying out the game.
“Anybody who likes pool or a tactile alternative to video games should definitely give it a go,” Schoonmaker added. “I’m not in the world of soccer at all, and this is my one avenue into that world. So it is for everybody.”
To contact the Central Coast Condors Table Soccer Club, email Schoonmaker at email@example.com or Varant Kurkeyerian at Varantk@gmail.com. Or you can learn more about the game on Discord: discord.com/invite/ePYUjtCQ.